Change in Riverton catering permit process suggested

Dec 14, 2012 By Alejandra Silva, Staff Writer

The Riverton City Council is considering making changes to its catering permit process.

Councilwoman Mary Ellen Christensen said the current procedure is a lengthy one and suggested that city staff, not the city council, should be responsible for approving or denying permit requests.

City administrator Steven Weaver said the revised ordinance could include that if there were a catering permit the staff couldn't decide on, they could pass it on to the council.

Police chief Mike Broadhead said it was the event sponsor's duty to turn in the request in a timely manner.

"I feel like I would be inconsistent to recommend this adopted change," Broadhead said. "From a public safety perspective ... I just don't think it's that difficult of a task to ask them to have that reviewed by council."

Bar 10 owner Jason Hawk said many permits are turned in late because events often are planned at the last minute. Hawk said his customers are sometimes "demanding," and that it's also the sponsor's responsibility to plan safe events.

"We want to help them out," Hawk said. "We want our customers not to feel like they have to find other ways to do things."

Archer's Buffet and Grill owner Randy Archer agreed and said the process is lengthy and necessary, and it would save the council time and trouble to have city staff approve the permits.

Councilman Eric Heiser asked Archer if he would be OK with the final decision of the city staff, because if they denied the permit, the council wouldn't have a say.

Archer said knowing that only the staff would approve or disapprove a permit could help business owners better prepare for an event and not plan for anything out of the ordinary that might get denied.

City attorney Rick Sollars said the state statute might require that only a "governing body" should approve or disapprove catering permits. Christensen said that other cities in Wyoming allow only the city staff to approve or deny permits. Sollars said catering permits fall under state statute and not city statute, because the state handles alcohol licensing.

The issue was postponed for further discussion while the state statute is reviewed.

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